Pair Described as ‘Racist Extremists’ : Courts: Prosecutors say the North Hills couple sold guns to help white separatists. The defense says they were entrapped by the government.
A federal prosecutor described a North Hills couple Tuesday as “racist extremists” who illegally sold machine guns to help the white separatist movement.
A defense attorney in the federal court trial of Christian and Doris Nadal contended, however, that they were entrapped by an FBI agent and a government informant who targeted Nadal for his political views.
Both the prosecutor, Assistant U.S. Atty. Gregory W. Jessner, and defense attorney Joel Levin presented closing arguments Tuesday in the Nadals’ U.S. District Court trial on charges of selling illegally manufactured machine guns and silencers.
Levin blamed the charges on the FBI agent and government informant Joe Allen.
“They were two professionals dealing with one amateur,” Levin said. “Joe Allen was on a campaign to get Mr. Nadal to sell him guns.”
The campaign included some 30 phone calls, sometimes as many as two to three times a day, asking Nadal to supply weapons, Levin said. To convict his client, Levin told jurors they would have to find that he was already willing to be an illegal gun dealer prior to Jan. 28, 1992, the date of Nadal’s first meeting with government operatives.
“The government is not allowed to create a crime and then prosecute a person who previously was unwilling to do so,” Levin said.
But Jessner told jurors that Christian Nadal employed the entrapment defense because he had no choice after being videotaped making the sales.
Jessner described Nadal as eager and enthusiastic to commit the crimes to support his belief that white supremacists should unite and arm themselves.
It was Nadal, Jessner told the jury, who said he wanted to make grenades for his grenade launcher, to use atomic weapons to force minorities to leave the country, drop bombs on South Central Los Angeles and who said that if the federal government had automatic weapons, then white separatists should have automatic weapons.
“This is the same man who said if you killed only 5,000 members of a minority group, it wouldn’t be enough,” Jessner said.
“He was not persuaded to commit the crimes,” Jessner said. “All anyone had to do was ask.”
The prosecutor added that Nadal had given Allen his pager number, that the men went to gun shows together and that Nadal repeatedly told Allen he could provide him with guns.
As for Doris Nadal, Jessner said she had helped her husband and drove him to deliver machine gun parts and therefore should be found guilty of aiding and abetting him and conspiring to sell illegal weapons.
In his closing statements, Thomas Nishi, Doris Nadal’s lawyer, said his client was being prosecuted not because she had committed any crimes, but because she is Christian Nadal’s wife.
“Christian Nadal has made statements that are basically outrageous,” Nishi said. “They have jeopardized Doris Nadal’s ability to get a fair trial.
“The government is asking you to be biased toward women . . . that women necessarily have the same views as their husbands,” Nishi said. It was not Doris Nadal who advocated violence by the instigation of a race war nor did she advocate the deportation of minorities, Nishi said.
Nishi denied prosecutors’ assertions that Doris Nadal had assisted her husband in gun sales or that she negotiated gun prices during a meeting, instead contending that she was commenting on the guns. He also told jurors that prosecutors had offered little evidence against Doris Nadal and that it was 14 months into an 18-month federal investigation before she was suspected of being involved in weapons sales.
Prosecutors, Nishi also argued, had employed a smear tactic by making an issue of Doris Nadal’s racial views.
During his closing arguments, however, Assistant U.S. Atty. Lawrence S. Middleton, the co-prosecutor, asked jurors to convict Doris Nadal on her own statements.
He subsequently played a videotape for jurors in which Nadal advocated forming all-white groups. Those statements, which Nadal last week said she could not recall making, starkly contrasted with her self-portrayal as an average working woman and housewife who abhorred racism and was not a white separatist, Middleton said.
“It’s a credibility issue, not a smear tactic,” Middleton said. Doris Nadal lied about her racial views, so she may also be lying that she did not know anything about the technical aspects of guns and silencers, he added.
Jurors are scheduled to begin deliberating today. The Nadals were arrested in July following a federal investigation into white supremacist groups in Southern California.
Christopher Berwick, an Acton machinist who had been the Nadal’s co-defendant, pleaded guilty last week to conspiring to manufacture and sell illegal weapons.